Had a thought to create something that produces the kind of light a conventional table lamp provides, with a little twist. In the middle of that I thought of a sailboat sail and how they fill with air. With these two seemingly unrelated images trapped in the skull, I sat down to design this little fixture. I had in mind something that was ultimately simple and uncomplicated, which immediately brought to mind the LynkLabs 12VAC SnapBrite strip. I have not found anything in all of LED-dom that gets me from wall power to LED light with less fuss. In this case, I used a magnetic 12 VA transformer, which is sized right on the money for the 12 1W LEDs on the 12″ SnapBrite strip I grabbed from the parts bin. Three parts: Switch, transformer, LED strip. Two wires between the parts, and done.
The sail/shade is made from White Optics material, which is over 92% reflective and 98% diffuse, creating a soft, blended light that is very nice on the reflective side. I also find the small amount of light that passes through the material nice as well, as there is a fabric like mesh pattern in it that is subtle and attractive. As a shade material it is really excellent, in that it transmits just a little light for presence, while reflecting the rest very efficiently.
The little lamp is only 16″ tall. One of the features I looked at carefully was visibility of the light source. The wrap around shade, closed top and bottom, and cutoff geometry means that the light source is completely concealed from any viewing angle. Like a conventional table lamp, it can be oriented in any direction without exposing the light inside. However, in this instance, the decidedly asymmetric distribution provides more useful versatility than a conventional table lamp.
The idea here is it can be used in two ways:
- Aim the reflective side toward a wall to create a wide pleasant wash on the vertical surface. This is really nice for filling a corner with light and letting that reflect and fill a room, while the shade glow provides presence of the light source without being overly bright… or…
- Aim the reflective side toward the room and use the light to act much like a photographers soft light, emitting diffuse fill light into the space. The size of the shade and even distribution of the LynkLabs strip offer a bright, but pleasant glow. From the back, the shade produces just a little light behind on the wall, or if its viewed from behind offers a nice pleasant appearance.
This iteration of the design is decidedly minimalist, with the transformer visible from the lower housing and the switch exposed without any hint of refinement or attempt to conceal any of the components. The heat sink is nothing more that a 2″ wide strip of aluminum. The end product is low in cost and lightweight… and fun. Oh yeah, since the transformer is a typical magnetic unit, dimming from a wall box dimmer designed for control of inductive loads will do the trick, at less cost than electronic load dimmer controls.